The rumors concerning the upcoming BioWare game for the iPhone have been flying fast and furious for a couple of months now, and not in a good Vin Diesel kind of way. Earlier we found out, through the breach of a non-disclosure agreement, that the game would be called Mass Effect: Jacob’s Story and would center around some guy named, wait for it, Jacob, and would be an integral part of the Mass Effect universe. Turns out, the information was mostly wrong. To clear up all this hub-bub, we’ve now got answers straight from the source, from the man with the plan, Executive Producer Kevin Barrett.
The connection between Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect Galaxy is not critical to our enjoyment of the Mass Effect universe, but “tells the background of two characters that will be encountered by the player in Mass Effect 2,” says Barrett. Galaxy takes place between the first Mass Effect and the second, giving us “more continuity for the ongoing story of the ME universe.”
Jacob Taylor, a biotic soldier featured in Mass Effect 2, is apparently a survivor of the attack on Eden Prime by the Geth, lending him to be a prime lead character to bridge the first and second games with Mass Effect Galaxy. Additionally, Taylor’s battle riddled background allowed BioWare to produce the combat centric game they had been striving for.
Barrett compares designing a full fledged game like Mass Effect for a mobile device to compressing a full season television show into a single 30 minute episode. He says the developers had to be vigilant in their efforts to focus the game in the proper direction and not get sidetracked into including superfluous things. Heh, we said “superfluous.” Sorry… He says that the dialog had to be tight, as did the pacing of the conversations, which caused a “significant” trimming of the traditional dialog hubs.
The game now has a “very defined beginning, a middle with three branches, and an end sequence that takes the player to the final showdown with the game’s antagonist,” says Barrett. This is mainly because the team had to take into account the limitations of the mobile platform. While the iPhone and iPod Touch are fairly powerful for their size, BioWare had to be picky about what style of cinematics to bring to the handhelds, as well as special effects, voice over talent, etc… They ultimately settled on an animated 2D graphic novel style as the best way to present Mass Effect Galaxy to the world.
No immediate release date has been given, so keep checking the App Store to see if it appears mysteriously. For those of us without an i-anything, BioWare says that they are not sure what lies in the future for Galaxy, but this does give them a chance to see how their IP works on a different platform.